Three Peaks

1-2 Nov 2003


All content copyright © Ashley Burke 2008. Not to be used for any purpose without permission.


Trip Report

TRIP: Three Peaks, 1-2 Nov 2003


Ashley Burke


There was some interest in the above walk during the week but in the end there were no takers and it was a solo Three Peaks trip.

I started out along the Narrow Neck at 9pm Friday evening, the way ahead lit dimly by a half moon. A cold westerly wind was blowing. Being about my 80th neck bash, the familiar landmarks on the way along this long fire trail passed by like an old song. And my footfalls were the metronome, the only constant rhythm amid the chaos of the wind tearing at the trees. With only my footsteps for company my mind wandered. Somewhere out near the fire tower, I walked straight into a fallen log and with an 'oof' and a thud fell sprawling to the ground. The log lay across the road and in the moonlight looked just like another shadow among the millions on the road.

The steel ladders at the end of the neck were cold, but in the forest below a few cicadas chirped feebly as I passed. Hughie couldn't work out what season it was. The wind seemed to get even stronger as I descended Yellow Pup ridge, strong enough to get me worried about falling trees, and there were enough freshly fallen limbs across the track to make it clear that this was no joke. But at 2am I was down at the Coxs river where it was more sheltered and I settled down among some casurinas for 2 or 3 hours in the sleeping bag.

I got up at 5am, not feeling all that well, but the best way to cure that is to get going up Strongleg. As the sun rose, an orange tinge crept down the east facing ridges of Guouogang, the third of the Three Peaks. But my goal for now was Cloudmaker, and from where I was it lay dormant in cold shadows. I reached Cloudmaker at 8:20am but didn't stay there long, it was too damn cold and windy. So staying just long enough to have a snack and sign the logbook I began the long descent to Kanangra Creek. Down in the creek I found shelter from the wind at last and I rested there in the dappled sunlight beside the stream. In fact I had not been there 10 minutes before I began to fall asleep. But there was no time for that, so rather than risk drifting off to sleep I headed up Paralyser, reaching the top at 11:50am.

By now the wind had eased and it was not quite as cold so I enjoyed a longer rest here. I looked through the many Three Peaks entries in the logbook including the 24 hour trip by Alex, Richard, William Landers and Andrew Mitchell and more recently, the "Three Chicks on Three Peaks" trip.

Then it was down, down, down to Whalania Creek and by now my legs were stiff after my rest and my knees were getting a little sore. It is a steep descent to Whalania Creek and when I got there, for about 10 seconds it actually almost felt warm. You could almost believe that it was the month of September, but surely not November.

Then the highlight of the Three Peaks - Nooroo Ridge. This is a steep and spectacular ridge with outcrops of quartsite and tremendous views. I ground my way slowly up, now quite weary, and reached the summit of Guouogang at 4:30pm. There was still plenty of daylight left so this provided the opportunity to descend and find a nice sheltered campsite out of the wind. So it was another long descent over Bullagowar and down towards the Coxs river. By now my knees were complaining hard and it was with great relief that I finally stopped for the night, in the same spot that I did with Andrew Mitchell a year earlier.

It was sheltered from the wind and I enjoyed my first hot food of the trip and the bliss of a full night's sleep. I was up before dawn and by 5am I was heading off on the final leg of the trip back to Katoomba. Again the sunrise bathed the ridges of the Krungle Bungles in orange. Breakfast at the top of Mt Yellow Dog and then a brisk walk around the Wild Dog mountains before climbing up onto the Narrow Neck for the final slog along the fire trail. I reached the finishing line just after midday to record a Three Peaks time of 39 hours and 5 minutes. Until next year ...

Ashley Burke


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All content copyright © Ashley Burke 2008. Not to be used for any purpose without permission.